I can safely say that the last few weeks haven’t been my best for consistency. I went through a period of writer’s block, then a week of frenetic activity. Unfortunately, I found myself completely drained after that week of writing three chapters and made very little progress this past week.
There is a lesson here that perhaps I needed to learn, or perhaps more importantly, that I already knew but failed to pay attention to.
The whole purpose of my #TwitterFiction project was to overcome the belief that I didn’t have time to write with work, life, family and other commitments. To say that the project has been a resounding success in disproving that incorrectly held belief would be a massive understatement. However, one of the key aspects of making this particular paradigm to work is consistency.
Consistency was something I maintained with little effort over the first five weeks of the project; I didn’t try to write too much in one go, and I was always able to progress at a steady pace. The problem started when I fell into a patch of writer’s block, which in itself was initiated by a lapse in belief in the story elements I had designed into the story. When I broke that stalemate with my brain, it was a flood of creativity as the ideas backing up behind were released.
The problem, of course, is that they came out so fast that my brain didn’t have time to take measure of how I would write the rest of the story. If you are writing in the standard approach of n-drafts with revision, it’s not so much of an issue. The #TwitterFiction project deliberately breaks that paradigm with a one-draft-to-conclusion method as the story is written publicly on Twitter.
I found myself empty of the words to follow. Even though the story itself is planned, I still develop how to articulate each scene as I go. When I pace myself, I give my brain time to pre-plan these, at least a few paragraphs in advance. By burning myself too hotly for that week where I wrote three chapters, what followed on had not yet coalesced.
Without that time to plan ahead, things slowed to the point of almost stalling. In itself, this became a problem, one that I needed to recognize first before I could step past it.
So here I am, now understanding that my error was to not pace myself, and learning that it is not only important but critical for the flow of this project. Work now continues, and I have become just that little bit wiser than I was.